With West Virginia’s running game nonexistent, the Geno Smith-to-Tavon Austin connection lifted the Mountaineers to a seventh straight win over Maryland.
Austin caught 12 passes for 173 yards and hauled in all three of Smith’s touchdown throws as West Virginia survived an anemic day on the ground to win 31-21. The Mountaineers (3-0), playing without leading rusher Shawne Alston (thigh bruise), netted only 30 rushing yards on 25 attempts.
Austin’s huge performance featured another milestone as he surpassed Jacque Sanders for the WVU career receptions mark with 207.
Smith finished 30-of-43 for 338 yards, but the WVU offense sputtered in the second half.
Maryland (2-2) couldn’t capitalize because of three turnovers. A first-quarter fumble led to a touchdown by WVU’s Doug Rigg, and Maryland receiver Marcus Leak lost a fumble deep in WVU territory.
The Terps’ freshman quarterback Perry Hills finished 20-of-29 for 305 yards with three touchdowns and one interception — a fourth-quarter pick by backup linebacker Wes Tonkery.
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